Humanity’s Relationship with God, Part 2 (The Covenant & the Cross #31)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 3:6-7 which reads: “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Reformation Study Bible edited by theologian R.C. Sproul:

Their consciences condemning them, Adam and Eve shrank from the intimacy with God they formerly enjoyed in the garden. Their expulsion from it matches their attitudes and actions. Though omniscient, God accommodates His speech to human limitations. Here the question induces them to come to Him. Ironically, the word translated ‘heard’ is also a Hebrew idiom for ‘obeyed’—precisely what Adam did not do.

Today’s quote about the Bible is from A.W. Tozer. He said: “The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.”

Our topic for today is titled: “Humanity’s Relationship with God (Part 2)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

We learn that the broken relationship between man and God is known as “spiritual death.” We have tried to show the key feature that distinguishes humans from animals. Both have physical bodies. Both also have an immaterial part, nephesh in Hebrew, that is often translated “soul.” The nephesh seems to be the nonphysical part of both humans and animals that makes them living beings. Passages such as Leviticus 17:11 associate this nephesh with the blood. This feature puts both humans and animals in distinction to plants, which have a different type of life, one without blood and thus without a nephesh. Associated with this soul are such common features as mind, emotions, and will.

Unlike the animals, however, humans have another nonphysical aspect, which is called ruach or “spirit.” This term is more difficult define. If animals have mind, emotions, and will, then the distinctiveness of humans does not lie there. It is clear that there are qualitative differences between the mind, emotions, and will of humans as opposed to animals. For example, only humans have abstract reasoning ability. However, these qualitative differences alone do not explain how humans differ from animals. The distinction lies in the contact with the spiritual realm. Only humans have a spiritual dimension, which places them in a category with other spiritual beings, including angels and God.

But humans are not clearly cognizant of those other spiritual beings for two reasons. First, we are also physical; and second, we have died spiritually. The spirit of man died as he was separated from God in the Fall. Although Adam and Eve died spiritually, they did not lose their spirit. Rather, the spirit may be viewed as having collapsed upon itself so that it no longer is a channel of communication with God, but rather is a self-focused center. This notion correlates with what Pascal described as a “God-shaped vacuum.” As such, it now distorts each person’s view of life. The effect may be similar to how a black hole in outer space sucks in light so that the view of its entire neighborhood is distorted. Each person is born with what may be termed an egocentric reality — a view of life distorted by self.

Humans now fear God, although their fear is often disguised as disdain. At the same time, they intuitively recognize the reality of God and their need for Him. So, as Paul discusses in Romans 1:18-32, humans still have a religion, but it is one in which they worship the creature rather than the Creator. Consequently, even today, people try to hide from God, although their methods are more sophisticated than those of Adam and Eve.

The Old Testament, however, also anticipates the coming of the Messiah. For a person who has received Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit becomes the medium of communication with God and thus effectively replaces the dead human spirit, filling that God-shaped vacuum.

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